We did the almost mandatory Roots tour with the Gambia Tours company - and wasted 75 EUR!
The boat leaving Banjul harbour was in a state of shock; it had definitely not passed a security check in the last decades, and the rescue boat was filled with water and half rotten. The trip lasts app. 2 hours before you arrive at the village from where Kunta Kinte from the famous Alex Haley Roots novel came. This obviously is very hard to prove, but has become the reason for bringing people from all over the world here - some on an almost religious pilgrimage. I hope they do not feel cheated!
When entering the village there is a long speech by a local guide - and then on to the small museum, and then visiting the descendants of Kunta Kinte - but again I am not convinced this is very scientific!
You are at all times surrounded by the village guides and local police preventing all interaction with the locals, which is very annoying. Ironically we decided to go back to the boat before the rest, and was immediately covered by guides and police where as an Afro-American couple could walk alone - why this difference????
At the end we were heavily begged for more money for the guides despite having paid the whole excursion at a good price. A very indecent touch!
The boat experience and the whole troop around us definitely spoiled the overall experience - it would have been nice just visiting at our own pace. And then you wonder why they do not sell the novel at the local museum, when this is what their whole existence is based upon? Bet they could have sold a whole lot there! Shame!
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